An ACO is a single organisation which holds a long term contract to oversee a bundle of services for fixed funding.
The idea is that Hospitals, GPs, District Nurses, Health Visitors,Therapists, Care Homes and Home Care will all come under one budget, allocated by who ever holds the contract. This could be an NHS trust, but it could be Virgin, Circle, a US health insurance corporation, or a new company.
An Accountable Care System (ACS) can develop into an ACO
In an ACS, Commisioners, together with health and social care providers, agree to manage resources together, govern themselves and share risk and gain.This will force the NHS into an alliance with social care, which is private and means tested, to manage grossly inadequate resources on both sides.
That will undercut the NHS Constitution which guarantees ” a comprehensive service, available to all…[with]a duty to each to each and every individual that it serves…Access to NHS services is basefon clinical need,not an individual’s ability to pay…”
In Liverpool this is being developed under the title Liverpool Integrated Care Partnership Group.
It is part of imposing £22 billion pounds of cuts to the NHS national budget.It means rationing health care. It owns the door to top down privatisation, turning tax funded public services into private profit.
Local Authority Social Care budget is already cut to the bone.
Private care homes are extremely variable in quality and cost.Care homes are run to make profit.
Cuts in the NHS and cuts in Local Authority budgets are deliberate government policy.
Social care, like old peoples homes, was put into the private sector years ago and it has not been a great success.
Combining an NHS damaged by cuts, local council services damaged by cuts,and a ramshackledcare home system will help noone.
The NHS needs much better funding.We need to s pendand more of our national wealth on health care, as it was before the banking crisis.
The ACO system will let private companies manage the NHS to make profit.It will ration care and make it worse for patients.
This has never gone through Parliament.
Information for this post comes from Keep our NHS Public.
This proposal will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday 11th January 1pm Cunard Buildings.
We will explore what that means for Liverpool Women’s Hospital in another post.